Was Cheney the man behind the curtain?

Josh Marshall teases his readers today with a post that strongly and intentionally implies that Dick Cheney was the driving force behind the Niger uranium reference in Bush’s infamous SOTU address.

We know that everything got started when Dick Cheney brought up the Niger claims at a regularly scheduled CIA briefing in the early spring of 2002. Apparently, the briefer didn’t bring it up. Cheney did. There are various timing issues that come up here, which we’ll address in subsequent posts. But the basic question is, if Cheney didn’t hear about it from one of his intel briefings, where’d he hear about it? Specifically. Who put Cheney on to the Niger uranium story?

Marshall points to a tale of intrigue about how the yellowcake rumor (or prefabricated lie?) emerged first in Italy, and how a mysterious Italian businessman (who was once connected to Italian intelligence) got the ball rolling.

Who’s this “Italian businessman and security consultant”? Who’s he do his security consulting for? Any associations to any folks with names we know? Any connections to noteworthy figures in the United States?

More on this to come

Knowing Marshall, I suspect he already knows the answers to his questions. I also suspect there’s a hot little story here.

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